How to Do Summer on a Budget
More Summer Fun, Less Cost
As our sun tans begin to form and sunglasses become a necessary accessory when stepping outside, the craving to get out and do anything fun starts to build. Running away to Disneyland to be a kid again, or taking a trip to Bali and staying in a five star resort become top of mind subjects. But, while we can try and stave off our need to run out of the cubicle and clock out early, there are weekends and days when even the most adventure craving person will face a dilemma that diverts their plans – budget.
Budget and Summer Dreams Sometimes Collide
Well, as much as we may not want to think about it, we all have a budget. As you plan your most fun summer ever, having a leaner wallet than what you like can put a damper on plans to jet set across the world. Even if you do have the income, you may not have the time. And sometimes just staying closer to home is best. With that in mind, your options decrease a bit. But, with some creative thinking you can uncover a broad range of budget-friendly possibilities. Depending on your mood, you can head far or near, and hopefully wherever you go your strong sense of summer escape is satisfied without killing your bank account.
Try an Airbnb Escape
Rising out of the minds of three travel-savvy men in San Fransisco, CA in 2008, Airbnb has become a worldwide cultural alternative to traditional resorts and hotel pads. Posted in a safe way from studio, home, cottage, and castle owners, Airbnb hosts submit their rooms that are able to be booked online. While you can get a lavish home in the Hollywood hills through Airbnb, for a penny saver it is the affordable flats that are worth a look.
Locations range across the world, but to keep costs down try booking a location within a reasonable driving distance, or another cheap way to get around. Prices range from twenty dollars and head up from there. If you can find any friends, see if you can split the difference and book a location that allows more than one guest without extra fees. From Morocco to Manhattan, see what locations suit you and what is nearby to discover.
Even if you end up closer to home than far, staying somewhere else can bring a new perspective for you. Sometimes, not being too far is deal for those moments of relaxation. Read books, draw, watch movies that are too long for the busy weekend. And if you do manage to tread farther away from home, see what new nooks of the town you are in that are ripe to discover. You might even get the best ideas from the host themselves, and get a new taste of mystery and discovery in one simple visit.
Go to Airbnb to see what you can book: airbnb.com
Park and Forest Day – The Wonder of Outdoors
There is a timeless quality about getting outside that matters. It is when we connect back with nature that we ground ourselves. There are plenty of options when it comes to going outside. For a short outdoor foray, local parks can be a great place. Even if you just head out for a walk, the sense of leaving any chaos behind can settle in after just a few minutes in the open air. Of course, I would also recommend that you opt to shut off your cell phone so the lure of checking emails, texts, and apps can be calmed.
Should you have the time, truly getting deeper into the outdoors means at least a couple of days outside. For a longer period of outdoor time, you might see what camping sites are around your home. Some can be booked ahead of time, and sometimes fill up quickly during the summer time so you might want to check them out sooner than later, or simply visit these outdoor recreation sites for the day and explore around them.
If a tent is not your style, then some camp sites have other choices. Yurts, which are similar to teepees, and rental cabins are also great choices to try out. They tend to be more costly than regular tent sites, but can be shared by more than one person. These sites also sometimes allow for pets to come along should you not want to hire a pet sitter. Whether these sites are brush and prairie, or old growth forests that reach into the sky, they are almost always nice and quiet. And, if you’re lucky there are many camping areas with streams and waterfalls, where nature somehow washes away anything but the calming beauty in front of you.
Locate camping locations near you: recreation.gov
Museum Wandering – A Day of Art
There are locations where the summer time outdoors is always pleasant, but then there are other places where the weeks can swelter and make outdoor activities uncomfortable. But, whatever the weather, there are always nice places to wander indoors, where air conditioning is ample and the scenes around you are each a small escape: museums.
Be it a craft museum of folk art pieces, a clean house of modern art, or a gallery of richly oil painted landscapes, you can find a place that makes you draw a deep breath and inspires with awe and wonder. Benches are often set up, for those wishing to sit and watch, listen to music, write, draw, or simply take a rest when wandering the floors. New exhibits crop up year round, while classic staples of the museum can be found year round to visit time and time again.
While you can make it a one time visit, often paying the price of a yearly pass can be a wise choice. For all those sweltering summer days ahead of you or rainy days during the winter, the pass can offer you the chance to see a lot more. New exhibits will come into town, and it is not rare to catch shows and installations from artist around the world. It’s a tax deductible expense and is an easy way to get away from wilting in the summer heat.
To check out the museums across North America, go to: aam-us.org
Netflixting – Creating Movie Marathons at Home
Nobody seems to have enough free time, so we often let things we want to do and see slip by. One of those things can be watching the latest great foreign films, or a television series everyone raves about. Netflix, or Netflixting, involves the simple action of sitting and watching a slew of films. With an entire summer ahead of you, what better way to relax at home than with enriching and entertaining films?
Even if you decide not to watch the front runners in the Cannes film festival, you can still make your movie nights full of good times. Don’t try to simply pop in a film or click play, but stage a real life movie theater. It will make the whole night or afternoon rival even the best movie theater experience. Get a popcorn popper, variety of toppings, and serve yourself a glass of wine should you be wanting a more fancy theater going experience. Best of all, popcorn doesn’t cost as much as the movie tickets, and you can also pause when you need to use the restroom and never miss a beat.
If your movie set up isn’t so great and you have a small budget, getting a projector and great wireless speaker system is now a fraction of the cost it used to be. This way, you can have screen sizes that are reminiscent of the theater and last beyond just one trip. Invite over family and friends, and see how staying at home for movies can make for some enjoyable summer nights.
Bolt Bus – Getting Across the Country for a Buck
When it comes to traveling, it used to be a matter of finding a place to stay and loading up the car with enough snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the drive ahead of you. These days, things that become issues for what were once young, spontaneous road trips. Mainly the cost of soaring gas prices have not let young ones get in the car and take off for an adventure. But even for the grown, the idea of gas costing more than a flight to Paris can be jarring. But Bolt Bus is trying to change that.
Taking advantage of the cost savings of grouping people together on a bus, Bolt Bus beats out any gas prices that you can find. Getting people around from the West Coast to East Coast, and a few stops in between, Bolt Bus is an expanding company that is putting a new spin on public transportation. Unlike traditional buses, bolt bus comes with Wifi for travelers, making long journeys more work productive.
But it isn’t the Wifi, great bathrooms, or punchy orange color on the side that have people talking. It’s the Bolt for a Buck. That is a mysterious little place where you can find a ride for a dollar. Yes, that is right. You might find a trip to somewhere awesome and hours away for a mere buck.
It is a little tricky. When looking for a destination and time, you click through the places and times and eventually you can find a Bolt for a Buck. This is best to do when you schedule a day off or happen to just want to dash. Even so, even if you pay full price the fares are generally much less than other options out there and make for a still very affordable way to get away to new places.
Find your own Bolt for a Buck: boltbus.com
Hostels – A Community Feel and Mix of Interesting Folks
Often the cost of getting out of town can be sunk into where you rest your head at night. One of the most affordable, and interesting, is the hostel. You might have run across the word hostel before and heard a mix of reviews. Some cite the shared space as too intrusive, while others love the mix of people they meet while out and about. With the rise of sites that review hostels, it has become easier than ever to save money on costs with your vacation and put it elsewhere.
img src: https://www.flickr.com/photos/baranclesdublingalway/3293170070/
Hostels are dotted around the globe in interesting locations. Accommodations vary depending on the regional customs. There are hostels in major cities with bustling cafes, and ones tucked back into the woods that give views of starlight. Guests might end up in a traditional bunk style room with others, or you can try out a private room one should you want some privacy if the hostel allows.
The one uniting factor of hostels tends to be the foundation of community spaces. Living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchen tend to be a shared space where people can gather for events or just the morning cup of coffee. And once done with anything there, you can head outside and start with your vacation, and maybe a few new friends along the way too.
Get a spot somewhere at: hostels.com
Spruce Up Your Own Home – Create a Getaway Right at Home
As we grow, so do the places we call home along with all our accumulated items. Should you have spent a few years in the same place, or even decades, it is easy to let time adorn your home in clutter. One of the best ways of spending a summer is simply putting some time, effort, and dab of elbow grease into your home. Rather than simply cleaning it, change up your home to better suit your lifestyle now. Maybe children that have moved out, or you have a spare bedroom. You are in luck. These places are ideal for enhancing your lifestyle with some new personal space.
The first step in knowing what to do is thinking about your hobbies and passions. Chances are, you might already have some areas carved out for this. But by taking a few days, or weeks, to clean out what you no longer need will make things even more clear. You can hold a garage sale, or simply donate to a local charity of friend who is in need of something that you don’t use anymore.
Once that is done, take a walk around. If you love being outside, this might be a place to start. Imagine what you would love to do more of, and how the space could assist that. Outside, you might see that you want a more peaceful location and put a water feature or hot tub in place and swap out the barbecue for a fire pit. For no longer used dining room, a reading nook can come to life with bookshelves for peaceful mornings. The options in how to change your home are as endless as the variety of things you enjoy, and your summer at home might yield you a new paradise year round.
Book a Last Minute Cruise – Your Get Away on the Water
Getting away can sometimes get tricky. There is lodging to think of and destinations to find. Not to mention thinking of how to get to and from all the places you want to see. With one ship, however, all of those issues are suddenly resolved. The beauty of cruise ships is that they allow for travelers to sit back and relax instead of exhausting all mental energy on planning. The downside is that all those accommodations can be costly when traveling of to the paradisiacal locations of the world.
img src: http://www.hollandamericablog.com/2013/07/03/first-time-cruisers-explore-alaska/
But cruises are often an exception to the norms of high priced travel. When seeking out a cruise line you can often find last minute deals and specials. Cruise lines sometimes offer huge discounts to try and fill up ships that are heading out to sea either way. Best of all, there are numerous cruise lines and ships to choose from depending on where you are located. Even if you live in a land locked area you might find a cheap way to get to the nearest coast (see Bolt Bus above) and your waiting well-priced ocean getaway.
Once on the ship, you will find that a lot of the cost of vacation is taken care of. Food is provided, along with travel to different destinations, and entertainment. Your vacation’s costs are often even less than a car trip with this lodging and food being taken into account. It is a good idea to continually check for the best prices possible and to remain flexible.
Sometimes it pays to go to each cruise line directly. If you live near a port be sure to check for local specials often only offered to the nearby community. You can also try to accrue points from discount websites that might help add up other extras while on your vacation for this one and the ones after it too. There are so many incredible places to go; everything from icy glaciers to quaint villages to warm beaches where Mai Thai’s greet you.
Take a peek at some cruse discounts at: expedia.com
Whatever You Do – Take Time for You
It is proven that those who vacation and take time for themselves at home live longer, with less stress in their lives. Those summer days and weeks, more than any other period of the year, are well-earned times to relax. No matter if you have a budget of fifty dollars, a few hundred, or a few thousand, you can have a summer vacation this year. It makes no difference to your health and well-being if you create your relaxing experience miles away, or right in your own home. Either way, make sure that your summer is full of ample sunshine, and memories to soak up too.